Yoga Vasistha [English], Volume 1-4

by Vihari-Lala Mitra | 1891 | 1,121,132 words | ISBN-10: 8171101519

The English translation of the Yoga-vasistha: a Hindu philosophical and spiritual text written by sage Valmiki from an Advaita-vedanta perspective. The book contains epic narratives similar to puranas and chronologically precedes the Ramayana. The Yoga-vasistha is believed by some Hindus to answer all the questions that arise in the human mind, an...

Chapter XCIV - Brahma the origin of all

Argument. Description of the twelve species of Human beings and the ways of their liberation.

Vasishtha said:—

1. Hear me now relate to you, Rama! the several classes of higher, lower and middling species of beings, and the various grades of their existence here and elsewhere in the scale of creation (i. e. the spontaneous production of beings suo motu, when they were not bound by karmavipaka or acts of a prior life, to be born in any particular form or state on earth).

2. They were the first in their production, and are known as the idam-prathama—or the first class in their birth, whose long practice in a course of virtuous actions in prior states, has secured to them the property of goodness—satva-guna only. (These are the holy saints and sages, who are entitled to their liberation in life time, and upon separation from their bodies).

3. The second grade is called the guna pivari or state of sound qualities, which is attained by the prosperous, and leads them to meritorious deeds, to the acquisition of their desired objects, and their right dealing in the affairs of the world. (This meritorious state becomes entitled to liberation after some births in this earth).

4. The third grade is termed the sasatwa, or the state of substantiality of men of substance. It is attended with like results, proportioned to the righteous and unrighteous acts of men, who may obtain their liberation after a hundred transmigrations of their souls on earth.

5-6. The fourth grade comprises infatuated people called atyanta tamasi, who are addicted to their varying desires in this changeful world, and come to the knowledge of truth, after passing a thousand lives in ignorance and sin, and suffering the effects proportionate to their good or evil deeds.

7. The fifth grade is composed of men of a baser nature, called adhama-satwa by the wise, and who may possibly have their liberation, after a course of numberless births in different shapes and forms.

8. The sixth grade is composed of those extremely benighted men (atyanta tamasi), who are doubtful of their liberation (Sandigdha-moksha), and continue in the vicious course of their past lives.

9. Those who after passing two or three previous births in other states, are born afterwards with the quality of gentleness, these are reckoned as the seventh grade, and are denominated the Rajashi—gentry or gentility.

10. Those who remain mindful of their duties, and are employed in discharge of them in this state of life; are said by the wise to be entitled to their liberation, soon after their demise.

Those among the rajashi said:—

11. gentility, whose acts are commensurate with those of gentlemen and the nobility, are included in the eighth class, and are called Raja Satwiki—or noble gentlemen; and are entitled to their liberation after a few births on earth.

12. The ninth class comprises the raja-rajashi or right gentlemen, whose actions conform with their title, and who obtain their long longed-for liberation, after a course of hundred births in the same state.

13. The next or tenth class is composed of the rajatamasi or blinded gentry, who act foolishly under their infatuation; and who are uncertain of their liberation, even after a thousand births.

14. The most giddy of this class is called atyanta-raja-tamashi, or the excessively infatuated gentry, whose conduct in life correspond with their name, and whose transmigration does not cease at any time.

Then the lower classes comprise the children of darkness or ignorance said:—

15. tamas; of whom the tamasas form the eleventh grade, and are said to be deprived of their liberation forever more. (These are the Rakshasas and demons of various orders).

16. There have been a few however among them, who have obtained their salvation by means of their divine knowledge, and their good acts during their life time. (such as Prahlada, the son of a demon, and Karkotaka—the son of a Naga).

17. Next follows the twelfth order of tamasa-rajasa, who combine in them the qualities of darkness and enlightenment, and who are liberated after a thousand births in their former demoniac state, and one hundred births in their progressive improvements.

18. Then comes the thirteenth order of tamas-tamasi or those in darkest darkness, who have to transmigrate for millions of years both in their prior and later births, before they can have their liberation from the bondage of body.

19. Last comes the fourteenth order of beings, who continue in their state of gross ignorance (atyanta—tamasi) forever, and it is doubted whether they can have their liberation at all. (All these classes of human beings have proceeded from Brahma, whose life and spirit circulate in all of them; else they could neither live nor breathe).

20. All other masses of living beings also, have proceeded from the body of the great Brahma, as the moving waves rise from the great body of waters.

21. And as the lamp flickering by its own heat, scatters its light on all sides; so does Brahma glowing in himself, irradiate his beams in the shape of scintilla, to spread all over the universe (which is the vacuity of Brahma's mind, and comprises the cosmos within it).

22. And as the sparks of fire are flung about by force of the burning flame; so do these multitudes of produced beings rise from the substance of Brahma himself.

23. As the dust and filaments of mandara flowers, fly to and fill the air on all sides; and as the beams of the moon shoot out of its orb, to fill the four quarters of heaven and earth; so the minutiae of Divine essence emanate from the Deity, and spread throughout the universe.

24. As the variegated arbour, produces its leaves and flowers of various hues from itself; so the varieties of created beings, spring from one Brahma—the source of all.

25. As the gold ornaments are in relation to the metal gold of which they are made, and wherein they subsist, so Rama! are all things and persons in relation to Brahma, out of whom they have sprung and in whom they abide.

26. As the drops of water, are related to the pure water of the cascade, so Rama, are all things related to the increate Brahma, whence they issue as drizzling drops.

27. As the air in a pot and about a basin, is the same with the surrounding air of heaven; so are all individual objects the same, with the undivided spirit of the all-pervading Brahma.

28. As the drops of rain-water, and those of water spouts, whirlpools and waves, are identic with their parent waters;so are all these phenomenal sights, the same with the great Brahma, whence they spring, and wherein they exist and subside.

29. As the mirage presents the appearance of a billowy sea, by the fluctuation of sunbeams on sand; so do all visible objects show themselves to the sight of the spectator, beside which they have no figure or form of themselves.

30. Like the cooling beams of the moon, and the burning light of the sun, do all things shine with their different lustres derived from Brahma.

31. It is He, from whom all things have risen, unto him they return in their time; some after their transmigrations in a thousand births, and others after longer periods of their revolutions in various bodies.

32. All these various forms of beings in the multiform world are moving in their respective spheres by the will of the Lord. They come and go, rise and fall, and shine in their transitory forms, like the sparks of fire, fluttering and sparkling for a moment, and then falling and becoming extinct for ever.